The Justice Department filed a lawsuit against the state of California on Tuesday, claiming that the state has violated the Constitution by enacting “sanctuary” laws that protect and give aid to undocumented immigrants in the U.S.
The Washington Post reported that in its complaint, the Justice Department alleged three new California laws, Assembly bills 450 and 130, and Senate Bill 54, “obstruct enforcement of federal immigration law and harm public safety.”
Assembly Bill 450 prohibits private employers from engaging in or directing another person to engage in “unfair” immigration-related practices, such as posting employee notices in a language different from the one commonly used to communicate employment information.
The other bills, Assembly Bill 103 and Senate Bill 54, created a state inspection system for immigration detention facilities and limited who state and local law enforcement can transfer to federal custody and what they can communicate about those subjects.
The Justice Department argues that the bills, which limit how state businesses and law enforcement officials work with immigration authorities, violate the Constitution’s supremacy clause.
“The provisions of state law at issue have the purpose and effect of making it more difficult for federal immigration officers to carry out their responsibilities in California,” Justice Department lawyers wrote, according to the Post. “The Supremacy Clause does not allow California to obstruct the United States’ ability to enforce laws that Congress has enacted or to take actions entrusted to it by the Constitution.”
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D) told the Post that he felt “states and local jurisdictions have the right to determine which policies are best for their communities,” which would mean the state had not violated the Constitution. He appeared unconcerned with the pending legal battle, citing instead the state’s record of success against the Trump administration.
“Our track record so far when it comes to any dispute with the federal government has been pretty good on this count,” Becerra said Tuesday night.
Others in California seem equally confident that the state had not broken the law.
Gov. Jerry Brown (D-Calif.) said on Twitter that the lawsuit was an example of typical Washington “political stunts” meant to “further divide and polarize America” rather than help immigration officials do their jobs, as the department claims.